There are many ways to extract APK file from Android device. Some of them are as simple as copying and pasting a URL, while others require you to root your smartphone. But why take a difficult route when there are easier ones, right? So here are five easy ways to extract APK files from your Android smartphone and tablet.
But before we get started, let’s first understand the basics.
What is an APK file? The Android application package file (or .apk for short) is a format that we use to distribute software to Android. In simple words, APK is the program’s installer for Android. Like what is .exe for Windows and .dmg for MacOS.
However, when you install any app from Play Store, you don’t see the actual APK file. Instead, the Play Store will perform the installation internally without giving you access to the actual APK file. Like installing apps from the App Store on macOS or Windows Store on PC. But, if you install apps from outside of the Google Play Store, you will need the APK file.
You can use the APK file for various things, such as:
1. Transfer applications to other Android devices that do not have an Internet connection.
2. Make a backup of your favorite applications and save them on your computer.
3. Save phone memory by backing up less-used applications. Whenever you want to use the application, all you have to do is install it on your device. After you are done using, you can uninstall the app.
4. Install applications that are not available on Google Play. For example, most Android tablets can run WhatsApp without any problem. But you can’t download it from Play Store. Therefore, you have to install such applications directly using an APK file. The same applies to geo-restricted applications.
Extract the APK file from any application on your Android
The logic is simple – back up your apps. Now by backup, I don’t mean doing a full backup (which also includes the app data), but a regular backup, which will only include the APK file. Alternatively, you can also download APK from third party sources. We will cover both methods here.
1. APK Extractor
Before moving on to other apps and methods, I’m sure most of you only need to extract the APKs once or twice. Therefore, there is no point in spending time and energy in applications on methods that have more functions than you may ever use. This application shows you a list of all applications installed on your phone, including system applications. All you have to do is tap and it saves.
The app also allows you to extract split APKs, which is great if you’re looking to download to other platforms due to a compatibility bug or the unavailability of the Play Store.
Other features include a dark mode, multiple apk excerpts, changing the saved path, sharing apks, in-app file directory, and more. There is only one downside that the app displays banner ads that you can easily skip with the network off. If you want to remove the ads for a day, there is the option to watch reward video or you can get a premium for less than $ 1.
Get APK Extractor
2. Using File Explorer
On Android, you can easily backup all your apps using a free file manager app called File Explorer, a popular app for managing all your files and folders. If you haven’t installed it yet.
Go ahead and download File manager by Flashlight + Clock on the Play Store. Once installed, run it from the menu.
On the main screen, tap the “Applications” option. This is where all the applications will be listed by File Explorer.
Now, touch and hold the app you want to backup. You can even select multiple apps if necessary. After selecting, tap on the “Backup” option that appears on the bottom navigation bar.
This action will backup the selected apps, tap the “Open” option to view the backed up apps.
This action will take you to the backup location on your Android device.
Related: Top 10 Alternatives to ES File Explorer
3. Using AirDroid
This is the best method if you want to store the APK on your computer. Since it is a browser-based service, it is platform independent and works on all platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, or anything else, as long as you have a browser.
AirDroid is a free application that allows you to manage your Android device using a computer’s browser. Apart from that, you can also use it to backup your installed apps.
Start by installing AirDroid from the Google Play Store. After installation, open the application. It will ask you to log in, this is optional, both your computer and your Android are connected to the same WiFi network. Otherwise, you will have to create a free Airdroid account. In this case, I have my phone and my computer on the same network, so I’ll tap the Skip option at the top right to skip the login process. Once this is done, give it all the necessary permissions.
And follow the simple instructions to connect your Android device to the computer browser. In general, if both your computer and Android are connected to the same WiFi network, you will see an IP address when you open the application.
Type the IP address shown in the address bar of the computer and press Enter to connect and open AirDrod on your computer.
Once connected, click the “Applications” icon, select all the applications you want to backup to your computer, and click the “Download” button. As soon as you click the button, AirDroid will extract the APK files of all the selected applications and download them to your computer as a single zip file.
That’s it. It’s that simple to extract APK from an app using AirDroid.
4. APK extraction directly from Google Play
Unlike other methods on this list that extract the APK files directly from the applications installed on your Android device, this method allows you to extract the APK directly from the Google Play Store.
To get the APK file, go to this web tool, copy and paste the Google Play URL of the app and click the “Generate Download Link” button.
As soon as you click the button, the web app will search for the APK file and provide you with the download link. Just click on it to download the APK file.
Since you are getting the APK file directly from the Play Store, you don’t have to worry about infected files. However, you may have some website problems due to annoying pop-up ads. But overall, I am using this online tool for months and it always works flawlessly.
Read more: How to extract apk directly from Google Play store
5. Downloading online sources
Well guess what, if you need an APK, you don’t really have to extract it from the app. You can most likely find that APK online. Just do a simple Google search with the name of the application followed by “APK”. This method will save you some time if you only need one APK file.
There are many sources online that bundle APK files of popular applications with malware. So, make sure to download the APK only from legitimate sources. A good place to look will be sites like APKmirror. The great thing about these online repositories is that you can find any version of the app you want, even if it is 2 years old.
How to find APK files on an Android phone
If you have a rooted Android device, there is no need to download any third party app to extract APK files. Just open the File Manager on your Android, give it root access and navigate to the following directory depending on the Android phone you have.
1. /data/app 2. /data/app-private 3. /system/app/
Overall these were some of the best ways to extract apk from Android phones. If you want to extract APK to your Android smartphone or tablet, please use the file explorer method. If you want to transfer the APK to a computer, use Airdroid. So what is your favorite method to extract APK from Android phone? Share in the comments below.
Related: 8 Alternatives to Google Play Store